Return to Transcripts main page
CUOMO PRIME TIME
The Atlantic: Trump Called NRA Chief Telling Him Background Checks Are Off The Table; CNN Poll: Joe Biden (D) Presidential Candidate Regains Double-Digit Lead In 2020 Dem Field; Trump: Jews Who Vote For Dems Are Uninformed Or Disloyal; One-on-one With Former Trump Economic Adviser Stephen Moore. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired August 20, 2019 - 20:59 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:59:00] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR, ANDERSON COOPER 360: --end of the year there's no such a award. He did speak at a dinner in Michigan the Log Cabin Republicans never gave him an award in "The Apprentice" never won an "Emmy". He's never got over that. He is the Bob Mueller of award shows.
Going forward, who knows, maybe someday, somewhere over the rainbow President Trump will be given a real prize and won't have to make them up. I mean, he is President of United States, most people would consider that pretty cool, maybe not as cool as all the colors of the rainbow and his new Log Cabin Award on the "Ridiculist".
And congratulations, the news continues when I hand over Chris for CUOMO PRIME TIME. Chris?
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR, CUOMO PRIME TIME: Anderson Cooper, thank you very much. I'm Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIME TIME.
If voters are going to the polls, even partly, because they want us to be safer from gun violence then this President's chances just took a hit. News tonight, the President has told the NRA, background checks are off the table. We have reaction from a Senator in a Deep Red State who's been personally lobbying the President to help him pass life- saving gun legislation, Senator Joe Manchin is here.
To be sure, the President's election fate will depend heavily on how you feel about the economy, so how good is it? How well has this President done and what is he doing now to stave off a recession? We will test the realities of this economy with Mr. Stephen Moore. Yes, the same, the man the President picked for the Fed before withdrawing him over a storm of controversy.
And if Joe Biden is going to go big on his new electability argument, do new poll numbers give him good reason. We got the data. We have the "Wizard of Odds", what do you say? Let's get after it.
The President said there was great appetite for universal background checks. Now he's saying he will starve that appetite. "The Atlantic" reports tonight the President told the NRA Chief, Mr. Wayne LaPierre, invited on this show often, does not accept the invitation. But just hours ago he must have been very relieved, Mr. LaPierre to hear the President say "We won't pursue background checks." Remember, this President has been telling you something different for days.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have very, very strong background checks right now. But we have sort of missing areas and areas that don't complete the whole circle.
We are looking at mental institutions which we used to have like - as an example, where I come from in New York they closed up almost all of their mental institutions or many of them, and those people just went on to street.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat in the red state of West Virginia had been working with the President, had been working with him on the phone. He'd been working with his colleagues. He thought he was getting somewhere and the President was giving him reason to believe, but not now. And he joins us on PRIME TIME.
How surprised are you, Senator, and thank you for being with us.
SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): Well, Chris, it's always good to be with you. And I'm surprised to hear that - or if it's the taken out of context, I don't know. We have not heard from the President or from his legislative team. My staff has been working with him along with Susan Collins, Pat Toomey, we've had Chris Coons, we had Chris Murphy.
The President's reached out to everybody, was trying to find a pathway forward. It was very encouraging. But I've said this, Mr. President, if you want to start making America safe again, you have got to have the building blocks of a background check.
And especially, our Manchin-Toomey bill that I wrote way back in 2013, it started with the premise that a law abiding gun owner, Chris, is not going to sell your gun to a stranger, someone who is mentally drained or someone with a criminal background.
We just don't - not talk that way. So don't you think we had at least a - any commercial transaction must have a background check, any internet sell, anything commercially, we don't know somebody. That's the building block. If he can't do that, we're not going to take us serious about anything.
CUOMO: So let's get to the next level of this. Why he would back off? What can Wayne LaPierre, what can the NRA tell him in a phone call that would make him push back on all of the other political pressure?
MANCHIN: Well, I don't know. I haven't talked to him in a week or so and I'm sure that we will be talking this week sometime. But the last time I talked to the President - Mr. President, I'm a life member of the NRA - a lifetime member. OK.
When I joined - and the purpose of the NRA was to teach the safety of guns, make sure the culture was preserved and protected, that's what we were all about. They've gone a complete different direction.
I said Mr. President, the bump stocks. We knew that automatic weapons are illegal. If you have a device that makes it semi-automatic, fully automatic and the massacre that we saw in Las Vegas, don't you think that ought to be illegal? The NRA wasn't even in favor of that. And I can assure you most - every member of the NRA said that makes sense.
CUOMO: But the President did it--
MANCHIN: The President went ahead and did it that way.
CUOMO: Yes, the President did it there effectively. But this has happened before, Senator, where the President has said he wanted to move on background checks and he talked to the NRA and he came out singing a very different tune.
[21:05:00] We thought this time would be different after what he said after El Paso.
How big a deal is this in the election? Or do you think once again this is about people talking about what they want, but not voting on what they want?
MANCHIN: I would think that - I mean, there is so much concern on both sides, Democrats and Republican. I said, Mr. President you can't blast with - take a dynamite, your base, they're not leaving. So they didn't leave you on bump stocks, they're not going to leave you on common sense background checks to stop commercial transactions, that's the building block.
There's so many other things that can be done too. And there's Democrats and Republicans working with your staff Mr. President.
CUOMO: The Republicans aren't really working on it, right? Isn't it true that while you had - I think, you got up to like 85 as a head count on the Senate side that all of the Republican report was completely dependent on the President moving on the issue? So they're not really doing anything?
MANCHIN: This is all about the President, Chris. This is really about - if the President doesn't step forward and give cover to the Republicans in the Senate they're not going to vote period. And that's a shame.
We should go on the record and say, listen, we want common gun sense. And you start with a background check that says, if we you don't know the person at a gun show, every gun show should have a background check.
You shouldn't be able to go into parking lot and have transactions when you don't know people. You shouldn't be able to go on the internet. This is common gun sense that we from gun culture states agree with and understand.
CUOMO: Well, then why do they can't--
MANCHIN: --and he's not going to be harmed by it. Why do know--
CUOMO: But why do they keep getting better of you? Because isn't the NRA not even what they were anymore? I've never--
MANCHIN: Not getting the better of me.
CUOMO: I've never even - I've never bought into the idea that they buy their way to superiority. They don't give more than a lot of other lobbying groups. It's about their ability to organize. But they keep taking hits in House, even recently the organization has become weaker. How do they still have this pull over someone like the President of the United States?
MANCHIN: I really don't know. I can't speak for that. I know that they - I've had the support over many, many years with NRA. And when I did what, I thought and I still believe and I have not wavered a bit. I believe, that background checks is a building block. Commercial transactions - I don't know that person, I'm not going to sell him my gun and nor should anyone else be allowed.
CUOMO: So why not pick up the phone and call Wayne LaPierre and say, "Listen, I'm a lifetime member. You know me. I've dealt with you guys. What are you telling the President? Why won't you work with me on this? You guys got to give at some point, you're dying - your group is dying.
MANCHIN: I think, I truly believe that they are own lock, stock and barrel - pardon the pun, by the manufacturers. Not by the membership, that's the problem Chris.
CUOMO: Senator Manchin, I hope that at some point in the future - I hope somebody's wrong. I don't want "The Atlantic" to be wrong. I don't want any outlet to report falsely. But hopefully the President understands that this matters to America and it's going to matter to him in the election. This could hurt him if people follow through on their intentions.
MANCHIN: Well, Chris, if he's talking about universal background checks saying that it prevents families and all different transactions from law-abiding gun owners, I understand, I'm OK. I don't think we need to go there right now.
I think if we can't even get the building block where we can stop a commercial transaction where you and I don't know that person--
CUOMO: Nobody is talking about family transfers. They're talking about gun safety, know how to store your weapons and have a penalty if you let people get it access when they shouldn't have it, and the commercial transactions. But we all know what we're talking about. There's no mystery to this issue anymore. The only mystery is why something doesn't happen.
But senator Manchin, I appreciate your doggedness on it. It's going to matter in your race. It's going to matter--
MANCHIN: I'm not going to change. I'm not going to change. I am who I am Chris. Common sense to me is common sense in West Virginia. Gun sense is gun sense in West Virginia, and I hope around the country.
CUOMO: Senator Manchin, I hope you have better news for me in the not- too-distant future. Be well.
MANCHIN: I hope so. I'll call you Chris.
CUOMO: Look, it's got a factor in to the election. Everything does at this point now. So if you move from guns, the big ticket item for this President is going to be what? The economy. A possible recession is a reality. It's not a given. But certainly he's worried about it.
And we're starting to see on the Democratic side, the frontrunners are gaining more ground around this issue. Joe Biden is telling voters, "I'm the one who can beat Trump. I can do it on the economy." Now, here's the question. Go from the right to the left, what is the math on that side of the ball? What do the new polls tell us? Guess who's here? The "Wizard of Odds" is going to take a deep dive into the new numbers. What is the state of play in this race? It's changed. We'll find out how next.
[21:10:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CUOMO: All right. A new CNN poll gives us new perspective. Former VP Joe Biden regains a double-digit lead in the 2020 Democratic field. But why winds up being the story? Age, all right, let's bring in the "Wizard of Odds" to break down the numbers.
This is what we had been waiting for. How will it shake up? You see a real two-tier system here. If you want to go, electability it's Biden. If you want to go ideology, you now have Warren and Sanders as the two-headed animal on that side.
HARRY ENTEN, CNN POLITICS SENIOR WRITER & ANALYST: Yes, I mean, you're hitting on just basically what are the key parts of this puzzle. Let's talk about age first. Basically, I broke our results down - those voters, Democrats under 50, those Democrats 50 and older.
Among those under 50, look at this, you basically have a to a two - a tie for first place between Biden at 21 percent, Sanders is actually slightly ahead at 22 percent. But take a look at those aged 50 and older. Look at this, Biden blowing out the field, 37 percent, 25 points ahead of Warren. Sanders, all the way back at just 7 percent of the vote.
CUOMO: And this is a little bit of light on my thing. This is the way I see it at this point.
CUOMO: It's a bifurcated choice. You're either for this, because you believe he wins or these guys are splitting the pie, right? And you see that together they're going to beat him with younger voters, but that makes sense, because the younger voter is a little bit more ambitious in terms of ideology, less on the practicality side.
But when you get older and as you move down the spectrum, a very liberal to centrist Democrat to independent, a conservative, he wins more and more. Why?
ENTEN: Well, I think just to point out, your inclination was exactly right. Among those under the age of 50 shares your positions on the issues. That's the majority's decision. Versus those aged 50 and over, look at this blowout, 67 percent say a strong chance of beating Trump is more important versus 24 percent who shares your position on the issue.
[21:15:00] CUOMO: This got to be explain the polls, because Biden hasn't been killing them in the debate. He hasn't had an amazing messaging campaign. He hasn't had big resonant moments.
CUOMO: And yet he stays up and grows.
ENTEN: Yes, that's exactly right, and that's exactly it so. In fact, if you were to break down our poll we're essentially we said, OK, if you believe that it's more important to beat Donald Trump. Look at this, Joe Biden crushing it again, 35 percent; Sanders and Warren basically tied, 14 and 15 percent, second place.
If it was sharing our positions on the issues, look at this. You basically have a tie for first place--
ENTEN: --the statistical pie. Joe Biden at 22 percent, 18 percent for Sanders and that is the key issue. And that is why you saw the first ad from Joe Biden in the State of Iowa saying, "Look, I'm the guy who can beat Donald Trump, therefore you should vote for me."
That's the same message that Joe Biden put out, perhaps not so articulately, earlier today in New Hampshire. Was basically, "Look, you may not love my husband on the issues. But we got to beat Donald Trump. That's the most important thing." And that right now is the reason that Joe Biden is leading in a Democratic primary.
CUOMO: Two things that aren't being spoken about. I mean, look, Biden's getting the attention from this poll and it makes sense. However, these guys can't be friends anymore. That's got to end. I mean, I don't wish acrimony on any situation.
But you keep saying it time and time again. They're splitting the pie. There could only be one survivor.
ENTEN: And now to me it was such an interesting thing in the last debate, right. It was basically when Sanders and Warren were on the same stage. We just saw it was - they were very friendly. It was basically they were the Liberals and hang on to each other tighter and the moderates and the Conservatives went after them.
Look, the fact is, if you're going to beat Joe Biden, you're going to have to coalesce that very liberal lane, and right now it's being split between Sanders and Warren. And that allows Joe Biden to lead the Democratic primary easily with just 30 percent of the vote. CUOMO: And then we're going to be giving you a little tease, Harry and I are going to do a deep dive tomorrow on the part of the poll that you're not hearing about. What happened to Kamala Harris? Who goes from 14 to 5 without like--
ENTEN: 17 to 5,
CUOMO: 17 to 5 in some polls, without some seminal event that shakes everybody's core and understanding. What does it mean? What does it mean about those who are stuck in the bottom? Who's going to drop out, no matter whether they make it to the debate stage. You're now seeing viability in a whole new way. We'll take you through it. Wiz always a pleasure.
ENTEN: Pleasure is mine.
CUOMO: Nice shirt.
ENTEN: Thank you.
CUOMO: So did the President really just insult America's Jewish voters as dumb or disloyal if they vote for Democrats? We get that he's doing us versus them. But is there any group that is immune from being put in a silo. And not going to Denmark, because they won't sell you Greenland. What is up, debate it?
[21:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CUOMO: A message to my mishpocha, my Jewish brothers and sisters directly from the President, you know the one who once said, "Only you can count his money."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Where is the Democratic Party gone? Where have they gone? Where they're defending these two people over the State of Israel. And I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat, I think, it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Is no group immune from being put into a box by this President, let alone insulted. With an election looming, is this a helpful move? The start of tonight's great debate, Karen Finney and David Urban.
My brother, help me understand the wisdom of this. Of saying, "You Jews you're either ignorant or disloyal."
DAVID URBAN, WASHINGTON CORPORATE LOBBYIST: So Chris, look, I think the President's asking the question that the "Washington Post", that this network and many others have asked.
Will divisions in the Democratic Party about BDS, about sanctioning Israel and support for Representative Omar, who's called you know Hamas - who's equated Hamas, a terrorist group, with the Boston Tea Party. Who's equated you know Israel with Nazi Germany. I think the President's trying to highlight that there's a big fractious difference in the party and look, well a divided. I think he's trying to highlight it, and it's a question that's been fairly asked.
CUOMO: Well, which is it? Are the Jews dumb or disloyal?
URBAN: Chris, look, I obviously don't think - agree with the framing of it. Right, I mean--
CUOMO: No. But doesn't the framing have to matter at some point, Dave? Doesn't it have to matter at some point?
URBAN: So Chris are you - Chris are you saying he's anti-Semitic? Is that that the - because that's what I've heard--
CUOMO: No, I'm not going to give you an easy out. I'm going to ask you to comment on how he--
URBAN: That's not an easy out, Chris. Sure.
CUOMO: Of course it is. You're trying to make him a victim of his own words. It doesn't work like that.
URBAN: No, it does - sure does Chris.
CUOMO: It does?
URBAN: Have you never said things you regret?
CUOMO: I say it all the time. But you know what I do, Dave?
CUOMO: Listen to this idea. Listen to what I do. I own it. And I apologize. And I say, you know what, I shouldn't have said it that way. I shouldn't have put Jews in the bucket as dumb or disloyal--
URBAN: Listen, I don't agree with it. Obviously, I don't agree with
CUOMO: Oh, you don't. That's nice to hear that, because you didn't start with--
URBAN: Oh come on - Chris, come on, really? Don't go there buddy.
CUOMO: You said they are framing.
URBAN: Well, you go there you buy a t-shirt, please.
CUOMO: You asked me to come and join you for dinner in the same spot, but it's not nice.
URBAN: Chris, come on. Come on, Chris, you should apologize for even going there.
CUOMO: I'm not calling you anything ugly. I'm saying call him out when he says stuff that you don't agree with, Dave.
URBAN: I did.
CUOMO: Because when you give him cover for it, it makes it OK.
URBAN: Chris, I didn't - look, I don't - Chris, no, I'm not giving him cover. Chris, I'm not giving him cover. But to you - for you to insinuate and for others to insinuate that this President is somehow anti-Semitic--
CUOMO: No, no, I'm not saying it and I'm not insinuating it, and it's an unfair assertion, but I forgive you because I love you.
URBAN: But Chris others are--
CUOMO: Let me bring in Finney.
URBAN: No, Chris, others are.
CUOMO: But I'm not - but not me. On this show you deal with me in this ugly face. Let other shows take care of themselves. Karen, here's the point.
URBAN: OK. Chris, you are right. Now listen - just listen--
CUOMO: Yes, here's the point. Every group gets put in an "Us-and- them". Every group gets defined by its weaknesses. The Jews, now of all the groups - I know he said only they can count his money. But now they are either dumb or disloyal if they vote Democrat. Winning strategy, how you feel about that? Is that going to take you down?
KAREN FINNEY, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER, HILLARY CLINTON CAMPAIGN: No and I'll tell you something Chris. The thing is, that comment was actually had nothing to do with him communicating with the Jewish community.
Because the truth is 70 percent of them voted for Hillary Clinton.
[21:25:00] 75 percent of American Jews voted for Democrats in 2018. 73 percent of American Jews feel less safe under this President, because of him playing footsie - not even footsie anymore with white nationalists. Because Americans Jews understand what the danger of othering--
CUOMO: They're seeing how they're being hunted by the white supremacists.
FINNEY: That's right.
CUOMO: I guess, they be sensitive to it.
FINNEY: And we just had two incidents that were thwarted, one in Vegas one in Ohio, so absolutely. And also I mean, it shows Trump really - he's so ignorant of the real history here, right. White nationalist, and that movement, was part of creating that mythology that you referenced about Jews pulling the strings and controlling everything. And they also - it's anti-Semitic.
I mean you heard him in Charlottesville Jews--
URBAN: Anti-Semitic Karen?
FINNEY: I'm saying white nationalists are anti-Semitic, David, do you disagree with me on that, come on?
URBAN: Karen absolutely. No, no, no, absolutely. Don't--
FINNEY: Let me finish. You've talked for a long time, David. David you've bluster with your talking points for a long time. Let me finish. So my point is, I think that Trump's comments were more geared towards evangelicals in this country, the Right in this country, not towards Jewish Americans, because the majority of American Jews don't support this President.
Have said they won't support this President. And in fact, have called on him to be more vocal, more full-throated in calling out white nationalist. And I think, they would like to see the same kind of energy that he has put into attacking these four women into calling out white nationalism and anti-Semitism, which he has not done.
CUOMO: All right. So - and we haven't seen it, although he believes Antifa, which for some reason, they want to equate righty hate and lefty hate, when it's just all hate. Why pick one group or the other? It tacitly shows ownership what you're defending.
URBAN: But Chris - Chris I agree with you.
CUOMO: And I know you do. And by the way, just so everybody is very clear about something. Dave, I love you. I love having you on this show. I would never ascribe any animus to you or any bigotry, you know that. For the sake of argument, though, this is about divisiveness.
Even this Denmark thing, what a stupid situation. You're not going to go to Denmark because they won't sell your Greenland when they never offered to sell your Greenland? What is going on with this? Is this just pick a fight in any ways?
URBAN: Chris, just go back - no, no, let's just go back to the point where Karen's talking about - like imagined all this stuff. Karen, imagine Democratic Party where you have members, right, members of the Congress who call for sanctioning Israel and liken it to Nazi Germany. I mean, that's what this President trying to point out here.
FINNEY: They didn't - that's - OK.
URBAN: Perhaps artfully, but that's what they're doing.
FINNEY: I'm not going to let you traffic in misstatements. Because the truth is, one of the things about Ilhan Omar to what - that I appreciate is. She made some comments that a lot of people disagreed with. Guess what, people talk to her about it.
She apologized publicly, went and talked to - she's talked to a range of Jewish groups to better understand something, she admitted, she didn't fully understand, like the Benjamin's comment. That why that was so - why that was such a trope.
You've never heard this President apologize for one single evil thing he has said in. And by the way, Chris to answer your question, I think Greenland - he expected, I suspect, Greenland to bow down to his wishes the same way that Bibi did last week for the tweets.
URBAN: Hey, Karen--
CUOMO: Right, I will give you the last word, David.
URBAN: Yes, so Chris the seminal story that started this whole thing is written by "The Wall Street Journal". If you read the article closely it said, sources inside the White House said the President jokingly - jokingly talked about buying Greenland.
CUOMO: Why isn't he going to Denmark and why did he just tweet that, now that they are headed Denmark said that--
CUOMO: Hold on, hold on, Dave. David why did he just tweet, hey, thanks for clearing up Head of Denmark that you don't want to sell me Greenland. Now I don't have to come there.
URBAN: Hey, Chris--
CUOMO: Where is the joke?
FINNEY: The tweets are going to kill you my friend. They're just going to kill you.
URBAN: I can't answer that look one Chris, I don't know. I don't know that what. I can't answer.
CUOMO: Well, welcome to my world brother, welcome to my world. Karen Finney, David Urban I always appreciate the argues on both sides. I mean it. I love having you.
URBAN: Good manners Chris.
CUOMO: Please come again.
FINNEY: Thanks Chris, great to be with you.
CUOMO: All right. Listen, this is the world my brothers and sisters, let's unpack it together. The President likes to divide. He's doing that with Jewish voters. He's trying to get them to carve off from the Democrats.
So what is his biggest election play, it's got to be the economy. All right? Now the idea that it could be fragile, that it may not be as good as he says, that he may have to juice it and we may be running out of tools to do so. What is his best case to you that this economy should carry him home for four more years? His former Fed pick Mr. Stephen Moore is here to make the case. Next.
[21:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CUOMO: All right. Look, every big election is about the economy when you don't have a foreign war or something going on. So, certainly, we have to believe that the economy will loom large, especially for this President.
So let's talk about the state of play. We are far from the recession he says. That's not what a lot of economists say. And also, let's look at what he's doing. If we are far from a recession, if we're on fire as an economy, why bang on the fed to lower rates?
I'm not saying that he's wrong to criticize to fed for having raised them too quickly. But why bang on them as a fix if you're on fire. Why talk about cutting payroll taxes? Why, if you're on fire? Fantastically, he says the economy is doing. Is that the reality? The best economy ever, he says. Is that the reality?
Some facts, let's look at it in context, OK. "The Washington Post" laid it out pretty well. You can go Google that if you want to get it more in-depth. When it comes to job growth, although the Trump economy has certainly seen gains, it hasn't topped the number of jobs added during the Obama era in 2014 and '15.
Unemployment dropping, no reason to question it, but it is a continuing trend. It began, again, under Obama in the most recent cycle - 2011. GDP, Gross Domestic Product, good indicator of how you doing in-house. I want you to take a look at where Trump lands among Presidential brethren, right? Because he says it's the strongest economy in history.
And I know what I'm going to hear from Brother Moore in a second that that's just hyperbole. But your words matter especially around election time. And if you look at those bar graphs - do me favor Eli put it up again, it's better than my face, certainly more informative.
Look where he is. Now you could say, well, he hasn't finished yet. Yes, I know. But these could be the solid days for him in the economy. He's going to be loving this number three years from now.
So what say the man who co-wrote the book on Trumponomics, let's bring in the President's one-time Fed pick Mr. Stephen Moore. It's good to see you back on PRIME TIME.
STEPHEN MOORE, DISTINGUISHED FELLOW, HERITAGE FOUNDATION: Chris, it's good to be with you. Thank you.
CUOMO: Thank you. One quick step sideways just to help me understand. You know the President's head. Where is this step forward?
[21:35:00] We were joking about Greenland before we started this segment. I don't understand the fight on it.
And I know that you don't do foreign policy, but you know him and you know how he thinks. I want to buy Greenland. Denmark never offered him Greenland. OK. But now he's supposed to visit with Denmark, he says, I'm not going. And he tweets, if you're not selling me Greenland I'm not coming. As if you know he's somehow been jilted by them. But there was never any offer as far as we understand.
MOORE: Well, I think he felt a little bit dissed by the Denmark government.
MOORE: Obviously, kind of - by the way, we do joke about it. But I thought it was really actually kind of interesting idea of a buying Greenland. It's very resource rich and strategic area of the world. And people did laugh at Seward's Folly when we bought Alaska. That turned out to be you know a great deal for the United States.
Look, I don't like it when Trump--
CUOMO: There was actually an offer on Alaska. He's making all this up. It seems like he's manufacturing a fight, why?
MOORE: I don't know. I mean, I don't know. I mean, he does - he is a New Yorker like you are, he is counter person.
CUOMO: Listen, we both know, you can't blame being from New York, being the way he is. Don't count me and him as if all New Yorkers are like this. Most of them are much better than both of us. I just - I think it feeds into the economy discussion and here's how.
CUOMO: It is about fights and false expectations. There was no Greenland deal. There is no greatest economy ever. You know these things. You're an economist. He's doing well. He's not doing better than we've ever seen before. And you guys got the benefit of juice in the economy with this tax cuts.
MOORE: Well, let me say--
CUOMO: Fair point?
MOORE: Let me see this. I think it's a pretty darn good economy. You cited a bunch of statistics there. But I will cite a few.
CUOMO: I'm saying it's not a good economy. I'm saying it's not the best--
MOORE: It's a pretty darn good one. I mean, we have the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years.
MOORE: That's a pretty - and for blacks and for Hispanics and for women. We have the lowest--
CUOMO: As part of a continuing trait. MOORE: Interest rates - OK, still. We have the lowest interest rates in 50 years. We have the lowest inflation rate in 50 years. We have the biggest wage gains in 20 years. I'll cite one statistic that I think is - encapsulate what's Trump has done in economy.
7.5 million, you know what that number is? That's the number of surplus jobs we have in America today. We've never had anything like that, Chris, never before in America.
CUOMO: I don't like that number, by the way.
CUOMO: I'll tell you why, because it means that you're not training up your labor?
MOORE: Well, look, I agree with you--
CUOMO: It means you are not working enough to--
MOORE: We need to get--
CUOMO: Hold on a second. Let's sum the point--
MOORE: We need to get the workers ready for those jobs.
CUOMO: But you guys aren't doing that.
CUOMO: And what I'm saying is, you promised all these people who have real fears of being forsaken, real desperation. You were going to be their savior, that's what he promised him. U.S. Steel's pulling jobs out. They're coming out - and he's not bringing back coal.
MOORE: Wait a minute--
CUOMO: Manufacturing is waning, because they know they are giving false promise--
MOORE: --numbers. So since Donald Trump was elected, we have created 1.35 million manufacturing, mining and construction jobs. 1.35 million - we were losing jobs in lot of those areas--
CUOMO: And we are now - and the growth rate is now - drops--
MOORE: Now, look, it is true manufacturing - manufacturing is dropped off. Construction, my god Chris, I spent two or three days a week on the road in this country. Everywhere from Portland to Oregon, to Maine, and here - even here in Manhattan - just look out the window. All you see is construction. We're building things again in America. I mean it's amazing. I got to tell you every single employer I talk to from the West Coast to East Coast - not everyone, but with few exceptions.
MOORE: I asked what's your biggest problem. You know what it is? Finding workers.
MOORE: Well, that's a good problem for a country to have. When you have no jobs --why you think all the people are lined up at the border to come into this country right now?
CUOMO: Well, hold on, which way do you want to have it?
MOORE: I want to--
CUOMO: Are they the brown menace that you need to chase--
MOORE: No, look, I'm--
CUOMO: --because they are rapist and murders--
MOORE: They have to come in legally.
CUOMO: --for the economy.
MOORE: I'm with Trump, they have to come in legally.
CUOMO: But he said, they are rapists and murderers and drug dealers.
MOORE: No, I don't want to get into that.
CUOMO: No, no, no.
MOORE: I'm just saying--
CUOMO: Of course, you don't want to get into it. But you want to say--
MOORE: What I'm saying is--
CUOMO: Because that's what the problem is.
MOORE: --it tells you a lot about how strong this economy is. That you have thousands and thousand people every night--
CUOMO: But how are you going to feed--
MOORE: --trying to get into this country.
CUOMO: --labor when you're demonizing the people who are trying to come here to take the jobs?
MOORE: Well, I don't like doing that. I don't like demonizing. Look, but they have to come in legally. That's I think the consensus.
CUOMO: What he's not trying to come up with a program to have it--
MOORE: Yes, he is. I helped write--
CUOMO: He's trying to chase them away.
MOORE: Chris, I helped write an--
CUOMO: --he's going to pass a rule to hold migrant families all together.
MOORE: No, no, no.
CUOMO: Yes, yes, yes, he just announced it.
MOORE: He has a legal immigration reform proposal that I worked with Jared - Jared Kushner that would allow more people to come into the country. They would have skills. They were talents. They would fill the jobs that are necessary for this country--
CUOMO: High skilled workers, that's not your worker surplus that you're dealing with.
MOORE: Yes, that's - those are the jobs--
CUOMO: --its people like my grandparents who came here that now you're saying aren't good enough for this place.
MOORE: No, I'm not saying that.
CUOMO: They don't stand on their own two feet?
MOORE: I actually I would - anyone who wants to come in this country and work, not go on welfare, but work and contribute, I think I'm all for that.
CUOMO: But you just - but they just announced a rule where if you can't pay your way in, if you're really in a bad way we don't want you.
CUOMO: That was what the whole kerfuffle was last week when we weren't talking about me.
MOORE: Now you're talking about with respect to getting welfare benefit?
CUOMO: Right. Well Cuccinelli was talking about--
MOORE: Yes, totally--
CUOMO: --that you got to be able to pay your way then.
MOORE: I want people to come into this country because they want a job, not a welfare check, what's wrong with that?
CUOMO: Nothing's wrong with it. But you wind up catching the same people who need opportunity. They don't have the money to pay their way in.
CUOMO: They're coming here to get the money. That's what America always ways.
[21:40:00] MOORE: People historically have come into this country and they didn't have welfare programs. They didn't go on food stamps. I mean, this idea that people can come in and can welfare, I'm totally against that.
CUOMO: Let's get--
MOORE: And I'm totally pro-immigration, but no welfare program.
CUOMO: Well, you're not pro-immigration--
MOORE: Yes, I am.
CUOMO: You don't want people to come in--
MOORE: I don't want people to go - become a public--
CUOMO: --and win in hard way to take these more skilled jobs.
MOORE: --I want them to come and work and share our freedoms and build the better life for themselves.
CUOMO: Then don't call them rapist and murders.
MOORE: Well, OK. I didn't I like that statement.
CUOMO: Well, you should say that as much as the other stuff. On the economy, here's the concern, if the economy is doing well, why are you wasting the tools that you have in the bag just for the purposes of the election? What do I mean for you at home?
The tax cut juiced the economy, all right? You didn't pay for it. It was fiscally not conservative behavior, you got a ballooning deficit. Now you want to payroll tax, which is not only going to take money away from Medicaid and Medicare, which is going to cause cuts in things that he said he wouldn't cut. But it's going to be juicing an economy at a time you say you don't need it.
I'm not saying you're wrong about Powell on the Fed and how they cut rates. I'm one of the few people who argues that the President--
MOORE: If you know I've been saying that--
CUOMO: I get why he's chasing him.
MOORE: Yes. CUOMO: But that's about monetary policy. But if you're killing it, why do you care? And most importantly, if you keep cutting rates, if you have another tax cut you have no tools in the bag when recession does come and it is cyclical. It will happen. Why do it?
MOORE: Because, number one on the on the Fed, you and I are an agreement the Fed has been way too tight. It sucks a lot of out the--
CUOMO: But you don't need it right now.
MOORE: --economy. We do need it.
CUOMO: Why? I thought you were on fire. I thought it was best--
MOORE: Economy is doing very well--
CUOMO: So then why do you need it?
MOORE: OK. Let me be very clear on this.
MOORE: We were going at 3-3.5 percent last year. The Fed started raising rates. It took some in. And now we're growing at 2 percent. Now why is that happening? Why have we seen a slowdown? There are two reasons. One is the Fed is too tight, but the other is the China trade war.
I mean, look, I support what Trump is doing on China. I think, we're standing up to a menace. I think China is a bad actor. I think the Communists have taken over there. But it's causing pain. There's no question about it. It is hurting our economy.
CUOMO: But that's on him - it's not on the economy.
MOORE: It is economy.
CUOMO: And now you want to--
MOORE: But I will tell you this.
CUOMO: --one of the tools in the economy--
MOORE: What do you want to do? You want to just back down to China?
CUOMO: No, but that's what diplomacy is, that's what deal making is.
MOORE: Well, I think--
CUOMO: --him to lay it off on farmers who are crying themselves to sleep, trying to figure out when their pain will end.
MOORE: I think the American people are behind Trump on China. I think people realized they're cheating, they're stealing, they're involved in technology--
CUOMO: --but strategy isn't hurting them the way it hurts us. They have so many more tools. They have a state managed economy, China.
MOORE: How is that an advantage?
CUOMO: Because they can do whatever they want--
CUOMO: --and then people won't be outraged the way they are here.
MOORE: I believe the Trump is going to get a trade deal with China. I really do.
CUOMO: You better hope so.
MOORE: I think--
CUOMO: The Street already has a priced into the market.
MOORE: And by the way - no it doesn't.
CUOMO: Oh, yes, it does.
MOORE: And by the way when - here's what I'll tell you. I'll say it first on your TV show. Yes, if we get a trade deal - and I think it's going to happen in the next three four or five months, you're going to see the Dow go to 30,000, you're going to see a boom in the economy. Trump is going to get reelected. Now he's--
CUOMO: Then he doesn't need a tax cut, he doesn't have to mess with the--
CUOMO: --when there is a recession, you have not tools.
MOORE: What's wrong with that? What wrong with giving middle class people tax cut?
CUOMO: Nothing, you should have done it the last time.
MOORE: Well, we--
CUOMO: 80 percent said every--
MOORE: --the first tax of businesses so they can hire more workers and wages can go up, that's happened.
CUOMO: And they didn't.
MOORE: Now this tax cut will be for workers.
CUOMO: They paid a record sum to buy back their own stock, and you know it.
MOORE: Chris, just look at the "Wall Street Journal" just two weeks ago, wages were up in 2017--
CUOMO: What did corporations do when most of them--
CUOMO: --most of the forgiven tax revenue, if you'll allow the phrase, what did they do with it? Did they pass it on to workers or they buy back stock?
MOORE: Why do you think wages are up? Why do you think consumers are spending, Chris. What's driving the economy right now? Chris consumers are spending. Why are they spending?
CUOMO: Because they do more--
MOORE: Because they have fatter wallets. They have more money and--
CUOMO: --more of the money buying back to stock, true or false?
MOORE: Some businesses did.
CUOMO: True or false.
MOORE: Yes, we--
CUOMO: True or false, big businesses bought back more stock--
MOORE: That money recirculates in the economy.
CUOMO: --then they did passing on to labor.
MOORE: What's wrong with that? So - that - it helps shareholders, it helps businesses. A lot of that money goes to new business and current business.
CUOMO: It helps shareholders, it helps bottom line. I know they redefined what a corporation is now. That it's not about just serving your shareholders anymore.
MOORE: You own stock, I own stock. Half of Americans own stock. It's bit - good for the--
CUOMO: Yes, only half - I worry about the other half.
MOORE: Well, I'd love to be 100 percent--
CUOMO: If it's a middle-class tax cut that would be great.
MOORE: Look, I'll tell you this Chris--
CUOMO: Last word.
MOORE: OK. My last word, if the economy stays as strong as it is today over the next year and a half Trump is going to win a big reelection. If he if the economy goes south on him, I agree with you, he has got big problems. He has really staked his presidency on this economy. And so he's got to get this trade deal done. He's got to continue to juice the economy, so that we have strong dollar.
CUOMO: No, you don't - and if economy is strong, you don't juice it. You save it.
MOORE: It can always grow faster. It can always grow faster.
CUOMO: Stephen Moore, appreciate the arguments.
MOORE: Thanks Chris. Thank you for having me.
CUOMO: It's good to have you here. Thank you very much. All right. How about a D. Lemon discussion, and what a topic? I think this Denmark trip matters and I'll tell you why. I don't care about whether he's going to buy Greenland or not. Why do you start fights for no good reason as the leader of the free world? What does D. Lemon have to say about that? Find out next.
[21:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CUOMO: So this actually just happened in real life. The President of the United States has canceled his meeting with the Prime Minister of Denmark because she's not interested in talking about selling him Greenland, which he somehow seems to say, is her backing off an earlier offer, which she never made. Can't make it up let's bring in D. Lemon.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR, CNN TONIGHT WITH DON LEMON: We could make it up, but we won't - we don't have to, it writes itself.
CUOMO: I mean, look, the Ambassador to Denmark had just said - just before he tweeted this, "Yes, we're all ready for the trip. This would be great. This is our first meeting." And then he calls it off and tries to start another gratuitous fight.
LEMON: Well, I think it's - as everyone, I think, it's figured out you can see right through it, right? It's a distraction. Truman talked about it. It was it's been bandied about buying Greenland, but nothing ever seriously happened.
But one would have to ask, all you have to ask is why at this moment? Why would anyone at this moment - a President of United States even consider or have that be a news topic? There's no other reason than it being a distraction.
I think the insulting part is that they're a NATO ally. And I don't think you should use a NATO ally as a distraction for the American people to distract people from the economy and all the other unusual, shall we say, things that he's doing.
CUOMO: It was interesting to hear Stephen Moore say, "Well, I think he felt dissed." He felt dissed. He's doing the dissing. What do you have on the show tonight, you're going to delve into this?
LEMON: It's - I'm going to delve into that.
[21:50:00] You know what, it is the first question, and you wait till you hear his answer - the first question that I asked to Senator and presidential candidate Cory Booker.
LEMON: And you know what, also I'm going to delve into?
LEMON: New York Times did a thing on the candidates' playlist, it's amazing. You got to watch that. If you - it tells you a lot about a person what they have on their playlist, which I learned even more about you this weekend after listening to your playlist over and over and over. Aggressive (ph) development have any - did you ever heard that term?
CUOMO: I like any band where the guys wear their clothes backwards, Kris Kross was my band. I'll talk to you later.
LEMON: They make you "Jump Jump". Well done.
CUOMO: All right. Here is a question for you. Do you ever wonder what keeps this President up at night? He gave us an answer today. And I believe his answer is as true as anything he's told you and it means something special. Next.
[21:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CUOMO: I argue this, the President told us a very important truth today. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Is that something that keeps you up at night?
TRUMP: Well, nothing keeps me up at night.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Now he was answering a question about China's military strength. But that answer is comprehensive. Just for contrast.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is your biggest fear?
BARACK OBAMA, 44TH U.S. PRESIDENT: Well, there are a lot of things that keep me up at night.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: I already hear the Trump folks saying Obama was weak. A strong man sleeps easy. But that defies reason and history. Military and political leaders have written a tome about coping with the obvious and extant pressures that inhabit, if not haunt, nightly slumber for a leader, because a leader feels the pain of those they leave. It is a burden they shoulder. And it is that empathy, that feeling what others are feeling, that motivates their response.
Literature abounds with references to the same. Most notably, quote "Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown." It's Shakespeare, right. And, though, like his Henry the IV, this President, who often postures as a demagogue autocrat, if not a king, frets openly about constant attacks. He also had an eldest son, Hal, who kept poor company with a lousy lot.
This President, however, seems not to worry at night, as Henry did. And the point is, Presidents should have a lot of heavy burdens that weigh on them, and yes, keep them up at night, waiting for that 3:00 a.m. call, the need that they can't satisfy, the pain that they must work tirelessly to address.
Look at how different - here's great example of this. Look at Presidents when they come in and when they leave. I mean, come on, look at Clinton's hair went white. George W. Bush, looks like you got a beat down. Obama looks like his own grandfather. I mean, look at it. I mean, this is a very hard job, because of the stress that they carry with them.
Now let's look at this President. It's been almost three years since Trump won the presidency. It looks exactly the same. His hair is like - I don't know what's going on with that. But he may do things that Presidents in the past haven't done to augment their physical reality. But it could also be that he doesn't care the way others have.
He seems content to vent and foment problems. Look at Denmark, look at this situation. He's just making up out of nowhere - discord for no reason. He doesn't deal with the trying business of compromise. He has no real deals going with Congress right now. Think about that with all the problems we have.
He certainly doesn't sweat building unity. He chases the easy slumber of blaming others and sowing the seeds of discord and division. The farmers, who toss and turn, wondering when these tariffs will end. Those cast into the bucket of others, thems worrying at night about their place and their kids futures.
Surely, there are people all across this country who've had bad dreams about where we're headed and whether we're going to have five more years like this.
Now, while I wish for sleep on no man, maybe this President could use a sleepless night or two, less executive time, fewer hours in front of the TV and on a golf course. Maybe he should focus on fixing things, carrying that burden, because that's the job and it should get hard.
Messing with Iran, big talk about China, that's easy, getting a deal, not so easy. And if policy doesn't haunt his sleep, certainly the problems for people should know. Imagine sleeping at night and sleeping easily, nothing keeping you up, when people are dying when they shouldn't. Concerts, movies, churches, synagogues, malls high schools, hundreds of innocents murdered and mass shootings on your watch. I'm not arguing that he's to blame. The murderers - the murderers bear burden. But imagine being him, and having the power to do something about it and doing nothing. How would you sleep?
Kids in cages at your command, calling for raids that leave families crying in the streets, can you imagine dealing with that and sleeping easy? Now, if not them, then surely someone like Private First Class Brandon Kreischer or Specialist Michael Nance, they have to be worth lost sleep.
Paratroopers dying in combat in Afghanistan less than a month ago. This president has only visited once, but shouldn't that visit his sleep every night? Shouldn't he process that pain and lose sleep? It's not what the job is about? Doesn't he see their faces? Can you imagine all of this on your shoulders and not needing a bottle of Ambien to just take a nap?
How about this? Care more. Mr. President, you may sleep less, but the rest of this country may rest easier. Thank you for watching tonight. "CNN Tonight" with D. Lemon starts right now.
LEMON: You make a pretty good point. People ask, I'm sure they ask you as well coming from political family, hey--